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Tax Credits

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: HM Revenue and Customs administers the tax credit system.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: I refer the noble Lord to the information on the costs of collection given on page 104 of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs' 2004-05 annual report, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.

Taxation: Income Tax

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs have been solely responsible for administering personal income tax in the United Kingdom since April 2005. Previously this was the responsibility of the Inland Revenue.
 
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Terrorism Bill

Viscount Goschen asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The letter from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 28 November 2005 and was passed to the Home Office late on 2 December. It was passed to Ministers on 12 December though I personally did not become aware of its existence until 9 January 2006. The Government could not have complied with the UN High Commissioner's request to make her letter available to Members of the House of Lords before Second Reading of the Terrorism Bill since she did not write to the Government until a week after that had taken place. The Government published the UN High Commissioner's letter under cover of a Written Ministerial Statement in good time to enable amendments to the Terrorism Bill arising from it to be tabled.

Treasury: BlackBerries

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The Treasury does not record the costs of acquiring or using BlackBerries (being all-in-one mobile phones, email devices, web browsers and organisers) or similar devices separately from other telecommunications costs, so the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Treasury: Mobile Telephones

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord McKenzie of Luton: The Treasury does not record the costs of acquiring or using mobile telephones separately from other telecommunications costs, so the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Treasury: Office Space

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: Based on current occupancy, the average square footage per occupant of 1 Horse Guards Road is 193 square feet. This compares with approximately 364 square feet per person in the offices occupied by the Treasury in 1997.

Tropical Rainforests

Lord Eden of Winton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): The UK Government support the conservation of tropical rainforests through the work of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The countries with tropical rainforests receiving UK support include Brazil, Indonesia, Cambodia, Cameroon and Ghana. The Department for International Development (DfID) spends approximately £19 million a year through its country programmes on forestry, with a view to promoting its contribution to sustainable economic growth and livelihoods.

The priority is to address the governance and market failures that drive illegal and unsustainable logging of tropical rainforests. The Government do this by working through the G8, the EU and other programmes which help strengthen forest governance and tackle corruption. The UK is also helping to develop markets and incentive-based approaches to pay for and conserve the ecosystem services that rainforests provide.

This work is carried out in partnership with a wide range of organisations to protect the livelihoods of forest-dependent poor people—including indigenous people. In Ghana and Cameroon, for example, DfID programmes are strengthening civil society and advocacy groups which support indigenous people to use the policy and regulatory frameworks that secure their rights to forests.
 
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This support to civil society groups helps strengthen demand for accountable and transparent forest governance and policies. In Brazil, DfID has supported the Indigenous People's Demonstration Project to enhance the capacity of indigenous people's organisations to protect their culture and land.

In the Congo Basin region, DfID is supporting civil society strengthening and dialogue between governments, the private sector and NGOs. In Cambodia DfID has supported work on independent forest monitoring carried out by Global Witness. Protecting the rights of indigenous people was central to this work.

DfID has also funded a study on the impacts of improved forest governance and law enforcement on the livelihoods of the poor, including indigenous people. The Forest People's Programme, which represents the interests of indigenous people, helped to carry out this research.

Lord Eden of Winton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: The Tropical Forestry Action Plan ended in the 1990s. The Department for International Development and other development agencies now contribute to the National Forest Programme Facility, which is hosted by, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations. The facility is supporting 46 developing countries in the development of their forest policies and plans.

The FAO and the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) have jointly developed guidelines to tackle illegal logging. The commodity agreement governing ITTO, the International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA), was renegotiated
 
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in January 2006. The new agreement makes provision for tackling illegal logging.

The subject of illegal logging was addressed for the first time during the fifth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) in 2005, based on a paper submitted by the United Kingdom representative on practical actions to combat illegal logging. The future of the UNFF will be discussed at the sixth session in February 2006. The United Kingdom will promote actions to control illegal logging within whatever arrangements follow on from the UNFF.

Unemployment: West Wales

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl on behalf of the National Statistician, dated 13 February 2006.

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about unemployment. I am replying in her absence. [HL3777]

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) compiles statistics of unemployment for local areas from the Annual Population Survey (APS) following International Labour Organisation definitions.

The unemployment rate for the West Wales and the Valleys NUTS* II area was 5.2 per cent. for the 12 months ending December 2004.

These estimates, as with any from sample surveys, are subject to a margin of uncertainty.

*NUTS (Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics) was established by the Statistical Office of European Union (Eurostat) to provide a uniform breakdown of territorial units for the production of regional statistics. NUTS is a five-level hierarchical classification.



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